Penn State Industries Pen Kit Review

I like to make things and I like pens. Several years ago when I was spending more time in the woodshop I made some simple ballpoint pens for family members’ gifts. They came out good, though somewhat plain and the Cross style refill wasn’t to my preference.

Since then I kept looking at that wood lathe over in the corner and kept thinking I needed to make a fountain pen. So just before Christmas I received the new Penn State Industries catalog and decided to give one of their fountain pen kits a try. Penn State Industries is a popular supplier for hobbyist that cover the arts and craft scene with handmade pens to sell. The ordering process is dizzying with all the choices, pen mechanisms, finishes, tools, supplies and a huge host of pen body materials to choose from. Plus it doesn’t stop at pens, the same concept of turning raw material will let you make wine stoppers, ice cream scoops, razor handles and other gifty ideas.

The model I landed on was the Olympian at about $13. The hardware I received was a mixed bag of plastic parts and metal parts. The metal parts being substantial enough to give the final product a sense of quality. It came with a converter, an ink cartridge and what Penn State calls a German made nib. I needed a few other tools like drill bits and such so my total tab for this project was a bit more than the pen kit.

For my project the pen body was harvested from some 100+ year old barn wood from a family member’s homestead. We made some other keepsakes for the family member out of the same wood and we had a piece left over that was big enough for my fountain pen project.

You start by cutting the body material down to size. You need two pieces in the correct length for the brass tubes provided in the kit. One for the pen body and one for the cap. Drill bits are a very precise size. I chose to pick them up with the pen kit and I doubt I will ever need to replace them, or need them for anything else other than making more pens.

Next you mount the two pieces on a mandrel and load them on the lathe to begin the turning process with sharp chisels. You turn the 2 pieces down to near the diameter of the size bushings and then sand them progressively finer to reach the final size. I went down to 800 grit because that is the finest grit I had on hand.

Finishing of the wood can become a whole science in itself. I took an easy route using CA (super glue) and some automotive wax. The finish is warm wood without a lot of flash or luster. Your preferences may vary.

You need a lathe, some drill bits and a few other tools. I bought a small light duty cheapie lathe. For writing pens and the volume I plan to do this will work fine. I’m sure someone could get crafty with a drill press but either way you’ll need some tools.
The price of entry is not conducive to making a single pen. A Pilot Metropolitan is a far greater value if you look at the pure economics.

The nib appears to be decent quality. I cannot confirm a German descent but I have no reason to believe it’s not. I was disappointed in the dryness of the nib when I inked it up for the first time. I suspect, as with some other inexpensive pens, nib performance may be hit or miss. Mine needs some tuning, and yes I will probably spend more than I paid for the pen to have it tuned. Everybody does that right? What’s more disappointing to me is if I were going to give this as a gift to a non-pen person I don’t think they would enjoy the writing experience and that might persuade them to avoid fountain pens in the future. I don’t know what the solution is though when marketing a $13 kit.

With glue up and finish drying time I have about an hour invested. I like the final product. I think with practice using the chisels I could give the body more character. The cap threads are plastic but smooth. You will not mistake this pen for a Mont Blanc but even precious resin can’t match the warmth of a family member’s 100 year old homestead barn.

This was a fun exercise. I have another kit but no body material in mind. Have you ever tried it?

Remember: Write something nice……

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TiScribe-Bolt Pen Review

The fidget factor in pens can be alluring if you write and wait or write and think a lot. Whether it’s a cheap swag click pen, a magnetic cap, those fancy Visconti cap threads or other methods, moving parts on writing instruments get our fingers’ attention. Who hasn’t been annoyed in a meeting while the person across the table incessantly plays with a loud clicker. To compete with the colleague with the click Bic there is probably no greater fidget factor than a bolt action pen. I don’t know who did it first but there are several out there and the designs are similar. I’m not overly dexterous so the form factor is not my absolute favorite but I cannot deny the fun and rarely can I resist a good bolt action pen.

The latest offering to hit the pen scene is a Kickstarter from Kelvin over at Urban Survival Gear, called the TiScribe-Bolt. Kelvin has released several good writers and based on the review sample I received the TiScribe-Bolt will fall right in line with the quality we’ve come to expect from him. The design element that sets the TiScribe Bolt apart from the rest is the the whole clip moves the slide action to extend and retract the writing tip. I wouldn’t call it a revolutionary design but we’re talking about the company that was brave enough and cool enough to make a machined pen highlight. Kelvin’s creativity is inspiring, and it’s a great pen.

The Pen

  • Material: Available in brass, copper and titanium
  • Finish: All three are available in stonewashed or polished
  • Length: 5.5”
  • Diameter Body: .375 ”
  • Weight: 27.4g
  • Price:   Early Bird pledges start at $49 (Brass) up to $74 for Titanium.

Packaging

Urban Survival Gear takes a minimal approach to the packaging. I like the thinking behind more money and effort put into the product. Kelvin uses the popular clear twist tube that serves the pen community well. This style packaging ships a lot of pens around the world safely and inexpensively. If you’re short on room or just not a box saver no big worry dropping this one in the recycle bin.

What You Get

  • TiScribe-Bolt Pen
  • Pilot G2 Refill

Construction Fit & Finish

Anything I have with the TiScribe name is high quality. The finish is good with no obvious machining marks, threads start easy and they are quiet. I love that attribute and the attention to detail. The cone is about ¾” long and it took me a minute to get a good enough grip to unscrew the pen. It’s tight and probably helped by the O-Ring. I didn’t need pliers or anything like that but this thing won’t be rattling loose. The J channel for the bolt action accommodates the clip assembly well with the machining tolerances giving a smooth action with no looseness or sloppiness. Impressive

Overall Appearance

Kelvin is offering a polished or stonewashed finish of titanium, copper or brass. The review sample I received is the polished copper and out of the package it’s beautiful. Patina sets in quickly so depending on how you feel about that order accordingly, you know it’s coming.

True to the TiScribe line of pens the Bolt has a clean utility look that is simple and attractive. Five machined grooves near the business end of the pen offer a visual breakup of the smooth body and also offer a good grip. The clip on all the pens is titanium.  The clip is stout looking but rounded enough to work with the aesthetics of the curved tapered nose cone of the pen. A nice depiction of the Urban Survival Gear’s logo is engraved in the tail end of the cap. A nice touch and if I had one nit pick of the pen I would like the angular lines of the logo to align with the clip. That’s probably more to blame on my brain wiring than a real design element.

You will recognize this as Kelvin’s work and that’s a good thing. Unique enough from other machined pens but not straying too far from convention.

Ergonomics

The TiScribe-Bolt is a comfortable writer, diameter is good and the 5 grooves give your fingers a nice resting place without any sharp edges. The copper is the heaviest of the three metals available but I found the weight and balance to be fine. Writing tip engagement and retract is an easy one handed thumb affair. Isn’t that what a bolt action pen is all about?.  Maybe not quite as fast as a boring pushbutton knock but fidget toy factor:  A+.  I found it easier than some of it’s competitors I’ve used and I think it’s because the clip is a bigger handle for my thumb to run the bolt through the J groove. A benefit I didn’t see in the pen initially but one I experienced as I spent more time with it.

Clip

Kelvin is making all the clips from titanium. I’m sure copper and brass make lousy clip material and making one clip for all models is a more efficient production model. The clip on the TiScribe-Bolt moves. That’s ok, the metal is stiff and you get a slight gap between the pen body and the end of the clip. That helps put a stiff clipped pen in your pocket or clip it into a pen loop. If you’re looking for a super strong hold on a file folder or something that’s super thin then you may want to test that fit first. In my play time I could not detect any marring of the pen body from the clip movement and I suspect there has to be some movement to get the smoothness in the bolt action.

Refill

The TiScribe-Bolt is Pilot G2 size. For an extra $10 you can get an adaptor for the Parker size. I’m fine with the G2, the Uniball Jetstream, Pilot Juice or V5. A wide choice of refills fit this size pen. Standard stuff for machined pens and thanks Kelvin for sticking with a popular standard.

Conclusion

I like the TiScribe-Bolt and Kelvin’s innovative design. Not groundbreaking writing instrument stuff but a creative twist on what is relatively new pen mechanicals, the bolt action. I applaud that in a maker. Thank you Kelvin for letting me go along for the ride.

Here is what my friend Mike Dudek had to say over at the Clicky Post on the TiScribe-Bolt

Here is the Kickstarter Campaign

Here is the Kickstarter video

Remember: Write something nice……

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The Right Pen For The Job

I think it’s normal for pen people to burn mind calories and energy picking our preferred writing instruments based on the task in front of us. Maybe a house purchase, a marriage license or some other big event garners special attention to the choice of writing instrument. For me it’s more mundane tasks such as an extended note taking session at work, my pocket EDC for the day, church on Sunday or a variety of other tasks. It’s a joy to go through my collection and maybe stumble across a pen I have not used in a while. Many times this is not a fountain pen as it’s just not practical. Recently I caught myself doing this almost unconsciously.

I am fighting some finger joint pain and that’s required a few more visits with the medical professions that I’m used to. With the turn of the new year many of said professions need new paperwork for 2017 or I’m seeing a specialist for the first time and the new patient clipboard is daunting. This week I had another one of these new patient appointments and there I was the night before going through my roller ball and gel pens.  I was probably spending a bit too much time evaluating what is going to be the best pen for the job. I mean anything had to be better than the $10 per thousand globby stick pen with the name of some drug I can’t pronounce printed on it right?.

Here were my choices and where I landed:

  • Pentel Slicci .25 – Form factor is a bit skinny to hold, further complicated by my aggravating joint. A fine enough line but a bit nail like scratchy. Pass
  • UniBall Jetstream – Not sure which tip I had but it was too bold. Pass
  • Sharpie Pen – Smooth and probably fine enough but maybe a bit wet if the forms are two sided on cheap paper. I just can’t have bleed through. The horror. Pass
  • Sakura Pigma Micron – Probably the best choice, wrote small enough, smooth and not very wet but I didn’t have a black ink version. Pass
  • UniBall Signo .5 – Smooth, always a favorite and just a quick decision on the .38 or .5. I landed on a black version of the one in the picture. Oh yes and I took a blue along as a backup. Success!

Everybody does this right?   Please say yes you have a medical forma pen.

Remember: Write something nice……

The Real Value of My Pens

kyles-metroI have a psychological trait that has affected me most of my life. It has some positives but overall I don’t think it’s healthy for my pursuit of hobbies and enjoying things. The examples that come to mind:

  • I own pocket knives that I carry but have never cut anything with because I’m afraid of dulling the blade and I won’t be able to duplicate the edge with a resharpening
  • I have owned cars that I did not drive due to the dread of work detailing them back to show car clean afterwards
  • I own firearms that I do not enjoy because of the dread of cleaning a complicated mechanism
  • I will not pry with a screwdriver or put a pipe on a wrench for that extra help for fear of damaging either tool

I am sure there are other examples but for some reason this trait has never bothered me with pens. I have written with every pen I own and carried them in a rotation from the first day I own them. My every day routine would not be considered hard use but they face the usual risks of dropping, being stolen etc during the course of my office and desk use. I enjoy all of them.

I do struggle with non-pen people casually asking to use one of my more expensive fountain pens and sadly this fear is replicated with my own children. It’s the fear of a desk roll off, a drop, pulling on a threaded cap or other accident that could just as easily happen during my own use. I think it’s related to me placing too high of value on things that can be replaced and subsequently are not enjoyed to their full potential by me and others.

I suspect my pre-teen son senses this and that may be the impetus behind him asking for his own fountain pen for Christmas. I was really excited about getting him pen engaged but on further reflection it motivates me to share my things a little more and reduce their status to just things. Santa spoiler alert: I purchased him a Pilot Metropolitan with his name printed on the cap. As a young boy that would have been a real treasure for me. I hope he sees it the same way, enjoys it and most importantly his over protective dad keeps his mouth shut about how it’s being used by its young owner.

I would love to hear your approach in starting a young person down the stationery journey.

Remember: Write something nice……

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TiScribe-HL Highlighter Review

Urban Survival Gear. I think that is what I am, an urban survivor that consumes a lot of gear, ok HAS a lot of gear that is rarely needed for actual survival. A company called Urban Survival Gear has launched a Kickstarter campaign for the TiScribe-HL .

Kelvin, from USG, recently offered to send one over for me to try out and warned me there was nothing else like it in the world. I might be coloring that a little bit but I love a maker that is passionate and excited about their product. Having reviewed the TiScribe fountain pen about a year ago I remember being impressed with Kelvin’s work and attention to detail so I welcomed the chance.

What came in the mail call was a bit of a surprise. The refill was a Mont Blanc Document Marker. Until I popped the cap off the refill I had no idea that “HL” in the name of the pen and Document Marker are synonymous with highlighter. It was a What The Heck! moment. In Kelvin’s defense, and with a smile on my face, I agreed there wasn’t another one like it the world.

The Pen

fullbfull2b

  • Material: Available in brass, copper and titanium my review sample is in a shiny brass
  • Length Capped 5 ½”
  • Length Uncapped 5 1/8”
  • Length Posted 5 5/8”
  • Diameter Body 3/8”
  • Diameter Cap 7/16”
  • Weight 39.2 g
  • Pricing: Pledges start at $41 for the brass version and at the time of this review that level was still available.

Packaging

Urban Survival Gear takes a minimal approach to the packaging. I like the thinking behind more money and effort put into the product. Kelvin uses the popular clear twist tube that serves the pen community well. This style packaging ships a lot of pens around the world safely and inexpensively. If you’re short on room or you’re just not a box saver no big worry dropping this one in the recycle bin.

packagingWhat’s In The Box

  • TiScribe-HL Pen Body and Cap
  • Mont Blanc Document Marker Refill (Available in green or yellow)
  • O-Ring (More on this later)Construction Fit & Finish

High quality was no surprise after my first TiScribe. The attention to detail is as good as any machined pen I have reviewed. I every time I used the pen the cap threads started easy with no squeals or roughness. I wish more machined pens took the time and focus that Kelvin and team have on the TiScribe-HL relative to body and cap threads. It doesn’t affect the writing quality of the pen but when they are smooth and quiet the experience for me is just better. A+ here.

The O-ring threw me at first until I got a little rattle after installing the refill. I knew a detail this big was not overlooked and that’s when it donned on me. Using the O-ring allows for any tiny manufacturing variances that may occur with the refills’ length and insures a tight quiet fit. Great idea, well executed. My only suggestion would be a drawing or quick text of instructions for dummies like me.

end-o-ringOverall Appearance

The brass is beautiful right from the start. Highly polished and smooth from the TiScribe factory. You can read mixed reviews on the patina that sets in with any brass or copper pen. It’s really a personal preference that you have decided before purchasing a pen made from one of these materials. You know it’s coming.

The accents on the HL include 4 grooves turned into the body of the pen at the normal grip section. They look nice and provide a good reference point for your fingers in the event you grab the pen while multi-tasking or your eyes are glued to text.

The tail of the pen is nicely tapered and near the tail are two black O-rings set into the body. I like the aesthetic appeal of the black but these mostly are functional to allow a grip of the cap when posting.

Another O-ring near the writing tip and a nice rounded taper going down to the yellow wedge tip of the refill.tip-grip-sectiontailgrip2Ergonomics

I’m not sure ergonomics is a stringent requirement for a highlighter but the TiScribe has no drawbacks here either way. Length is good, the four rings grooved into the body near where your fingers rest give a good indicator grip and the diameter of the pen comfortable. With the short cap the threads are close enough to the writing tip that your grip hand will probably never be bothered by them.

Cap

The cap is small, about 15/16″ in lenght and slighter larger diameter than the pen body. The very top is chamfered both for aesthetics and comfort I suspect. Threads are wonderful as described above and an O-rings mates the cap to the body to prevent any premature drying out of the refill.cap2Clip

My review sample came as a no clip option.  A clip is available (+$10), as well as a magnet installed in the tip of the cap (+$5) as a retention option.  I have the magnet concept on another pen and it’s actually quite handy. That would probably be my choice and retain the clean lines of clipless.

Refill

I have never used a Mont Blanc Document Marker. I have not reviewed a lot of highlighters to compare it with but thus far my limited experience says USG has made a good choice with the Mont Blanc. It’s wet and goes down thick, a trait I like in my fountain pens, so I welcome it. The color is vivid and dried quickly on the sample paper I tried. Winner in my book.

Conclusion

I don’t use highlighters a lot. Mainly because I find mainstream versions ugly and low on character. Coming from true pen nerd having nothing to do with highlighting text. I have a cool one now so I suspect I will be highlighting more than I have in the past.

If you are a highlighter and reading this blog you’re likely a pen nut so a TiScribe-HL may be eligible for your next pen spend. I can almost guarantee you there is not a cooler, or better quality highlighter out there. There is still time to get in on the Kickstarter. An added bonus is pricing is on the lower end of the machined pen spectrum.

Remember:   Write something nice……  (and highlight it!)

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Kaweco Traveler Case Review

Besides great pens Kaweco continues to venture out with accessories and products for the writer in all of us. Most of us don’t carry just a single pen so we end up with some type of pen case. The Kaweco Traveler Case I recently tried out proved to be a quality participant.front-closed

  • Weight 5.5 oz.
  • Depth: 1.5”
  • Length: 4.5”
  • Width: 6.25”
  • Price: $115

CONSTRUCTION

The leather construction is typical Kaweco high quality and surrounds a well-executed design case. The finish and feel is rich and should hold up well. The light color will probably show some daily travel patina but your pens will stay healthy inside. The zippered closure on three sides allows the case to open completely flat

back-closed

branding

flapWHAT’S INSIDE

Inside there are 6 elastic loops to hold a good collection of daily carries securely. The loops are close together and to fit 6 pens in a compact footprint your pens are snug. That’s good but if you are particular about your pens rubbing and you carry clipped or larger diameter pens you might consider taking a little bit of time in positioning each pen. Not a big deal or a negative of the case just a design consideration. A leather flap adds further protection in the event you want to stuff the case with other supplies.

full-openThe mesh pocket on the inside front cover is perfect to add that one other pen you need, ink cartridges or other small items that might help you prevent carrying another case or reducing the load in your pockets.

mesh-pocketIN USE

6 Kaweco Sports look great in this case and Kaweco was smart, they kept a small profile product that will carry other small to medium size pens in this case. The largest I see fitting is a Karas Kustoms Retrakt. That covers a broad selection of pen brands and model sizes to meet your daily carry needs.

6-kawecos-no-flap 6-kawecos-with-flap 6-other-pensCONCLUSION

Kaweco has put together a quality leather case that should stand up to daily wear very well. If your needs are carrying 6 pens or less, a compact design and a classy look and feel the Kaweco Traveler’s Case would fit you very well. Thanks Kaweco for sending this loaner over for me to try out.

Remember: Write something nice……

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Pens For Sale

pens-for-sale-726x1024I have too many. Recently while rotating my daily carry I was going down in the number of pens I had inked up and I ran out of room for my normal storage routine.  I looked through my collection and some just never seem to make it to my carry pen case. I’m not sure why as they are all very nice writing pens. It’s time for these 6 to move on to better parents.  If you see something you like drop me an email to bob@mypenneedsink.com

USPS Priority Shipping CONUS included in the price. If you want the box I can probably dig those up but if that is a deal breaker for you send me an email and I will search for the box specifically.

1. Jinhao X750

  • Gold body color
  • Medium Steel Nib
  • Fill Style: Converter
  • $10

2. Nussbaum Nicholas

  • Gold Carmel body color
  • Medium Steel Nib
  • Fill Style: Converter
  • $30

3. Cross Apogee

  • Blue Silver body color
  • Medium Steel Danny Fudge Tuned Nib
  • Fill Style: Converter
  • $100

4. Conklin Nozac

  • Harvest Moon body color
  • Medium Steel Nib
  • Fill Style: Converter
  • $50

5. Conklin Glider SOLD

  • Tiger Eye body color
  • Fine Steel Nib
  • Fill style: Converter
  • SOLD

6. Edison Hudson SOLD

  • Green marbleized body color
  • XFine Steel – Richard Binder Tuned Nib
  • Fill Style: Converter
  • SOLD

If you see something you like drop me an email to bob@mypenneedsink.com

Remember: Write something nice……

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Bung Box Norwegian Wood Emerald Ink Review

bung-box-vial-1-1024x457The grand prize growing up was always the big flip top lid of 64 Crayola Crayons with the sharpener in the back. Grail marking products for a 10 year old. With 64 colors to choose from I had my favorites but my personality quirk at the time didn’t allow me to use those favorite colors because I didn’t want to dull the tip or worse use them up! So I remember taking others colors and mixing them on the page to try and create the colors I liked that were sitting right next to me! I guess the concept of just buying another box was escaping me or out of the financial reach of a young lad of 10.

My Crayolas of today is fountain pen ink and as I have matured, ok just grown older, I use what I buy. I don’t buy limited edition inks as a general rule, I know my 10 year old personality would creep in and never allow me to use it. Since my quest with fountain pens started I have spent a considerable amount of time and shipping costs on sample vials looking for some key color tones that I like to write with:

  • Brown
  • Green
  • Burgundy
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Purple
  • Orange

I have my favorites in each color family with a couple of different blues, greens, purples and red / burgundy. Overall I have maybe 20 bottles of ink which quantity wise represents about a 10 year supply. Additionally, nothing in a long time has really jumped off the screen at me to go buy.

With a recent Vanness Pens order I got a free sample vial of Bung Box Norwegian Wood Emerald ink. My current favorite green is Diamine Delamere Green which I have been perfectly content with but I have heard good things about the Bung Box ink so I found an 80’s vintage Sheaffer that writes like a fire hose and inked up the Bung Box.

Below are some of my ink cards compared to other greens I have tried. The Bung Box is a little bit different shade but that really comes down to preference.

bungbox1IMG_1432The Bung Box ink behaved well, wrote well, shaded beautifully and even cleaned out well. At $43 I just didn’t experience that big of a difference over my current inventory. In the event I find it on deep discount or my Delamere hue gets discontinued I would consider the Bung Box but for now I will appreciate the opportunity for experiencing a great ink in a sample format. I will give it to Bung Box though for some of the coolest names in the ink biz though.

Are you a Bung Box fan?

Remember: Write something nice……

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Lamy Multi-Pen Review

overall1I don’t think anyone sits down for a letter writing session and specifically reaches for a multi-pen. I don’t, but I can’t fault the convenience at work or on the go if you do a lot of markup or colored ink work. I owned a multi-pen when I was a young boy and still a closet stationery geek. It was the venerable Bic 4 Color Retractable.
bic
I loved that pen and guarded it with my life by only taking it out to show my buddies or for writing something special. Oh the horror if it were to run out of ink, I had no clue that I could actually buy a refill. Truth be known it probably dried up by NOT writing with it. That was 40+ years ago and they still sell it. In later years my standards for the writing experience has elevated somewhat and given the choice, a 4 color ballpoint is not my preferred. I own one other multi-pen.

AcroballA Pilot Acroball and for its intended use it’s not a bad pen. Good action and full size refills that right ok.
Now if there is a category for classy upscale multi-pens, I now own it. A Black Lamy 2000 Multifunction Pen. The Lamy 2000 line is nearly iconic in its stature as a fountain pen. The shape and design have been around unchanged for a long long time. It’s aesthetic just works and the Makrolon material is unique while being a comfortable material to handle, hold and write with. The brushed stainless steel trim gives a nice contrasting look against the black body.
overall1THE PEN:

    • 21.7 Grams
    • 7/16” Diameter
    • Length: 5 ½”
    • Brushed Makrolon resin barrel
    • Brushed stainless steel head and knock
    • Red, Black, Blue and Green D1 refills included
    • Street Price: $50

PACKAGING

Packaging is good for this price range, not much to review. If you’re a tosser not much to change your mind on this one.

packaging1packaging2CONSTRUCTION FIT AND FINISH

Lamy’s build quality, fit and finish is known to be a consistent high quality. This one is no different, minus the clip, but more on that later. The Makrolon material is smooth with no burrs or rough areas The joint of the section and body is nearly invisible as you can see, or not see, below. Threads are smooth and start easy every time.

Section GapMakrolonREFILLS

Some multi-pens take proprietary refills. That can be good or bad. Usually that means more expensive and limited selection of color and point sizes. My Acroball takes proprietary refills and they write fairly well for a ballpoint but when they run out I would not have any extras laying around, and I’m a pen guy with way too many refills laying around. The Lamy takes the universal D1 size that are available in 80+ variations at my last count. In the Lamy you can mix and match the refills to your preference though the pen twist mechanism will always reference only blue, red and green.

RefillsTHE CLIP

clip1The clip is standard Lamy fare. Its thick shape lends itself positively to the overall aesthetics of the pen. The LAMY name is printed on the side discretely and doesn’t get in the way of the other iconic design elements of the pen showing off the great design. The clip is thick and has a good springiness for performing its main duty, namely holding it in one’s pocket or clipped to a notebook or pad. My particular example had a loose clip and my small amount of tinkering to take the pen apart did not yield any wisdom on how to tighten it up. It doesn’t affect the use of the clip or the pen at all but I found this minor defect unusual based on all the Lamy pens I have owned. I’m sure if I send it in Lamy they would make good on it.

IN USE:

Lamy has figured out how to fit 4 pens in a barrel the same size as the fountain pen. That’s a good thing as it’s comfortable to hold, incredibly lightweight and a pleasant shape proven over many years. I own a Lamy 2000 fountain pen and besides being heavier I can barely tell the difference. Deploying the writing tip of the pen is a normal pushbutton knock. To get the color you desire is a gravity exercise. Near the tail end of the pen is a 3 color ring.

Colorband1 A portion of the ring is colored in blue, red and green. Holding the pen horizontal and facing the color you want on the section up to towards the ceiling you depress the knock and you get the color facing up. You face the clip up to get black. It works ok most of the time. I am not an engineer and looking at the pen, after taking it apart, I don’t know how to do it better but to me it’s just not smooth. I think I understand what contortion each tip has to perform when you push the knock down but however clever the gravity selector is I wish for something a little smoother. That being noted I would not trade off pen thickness or weight for that smoothness so my expectation are probably unreasonable. It works, it works every time and the right color comes out of the tip so there is a fair amount of good design and technical engineering invested.

tip sticking outCONCLUSION

Thanks to The Pen Company for sending this pen over. Lamy has done a great job creating an affordable but higher end multi pen for those that have the need and enjoy the convenience of four colors in a single body. If your use is utilitarian with a pen body that looks good in a boardroom or with a client you need to impress and maybe you need it tough enough to be thrown around in a purse, pocket or EDC bag. The Lamy is probably a great choice for you.

Do deploy a multi-pen regularly?

Remember: Write something nice……

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Two New Kaweco Colors

bothnewI have written many words on the joy of owning and using the Kaweco SPORT line of pens. Recently Kaweco came out with two new colors in their SPORT Fountain Pen series. First is a Red Classic series that Kaweco calls, well, just Red. I like the hue, it’s a bold fire engine red with maybe a touch of orange but it’s an unmistakable red. The red is a nice contrast to it’s gold colored stainless nib.


The second new color is in their Skyline series called Macchiato and looking at the pen I can see the resemblance to a favorite coffee blend. Maybe vanilla with a hint of brownish yellow. Attractive without being flashy. On the Macchiato they chose polished stainless steel finish.

red newmacciato newInside mechanicals and writing experience are same as I reviewed here on the aluminum bodied stonewash version. These two new colors are in the all plastic line. Both come with Kaweco’s very good medium stainless steel nib.

  • Stainless Steel Iridium Tip Medium Nib
  • Street Price: $27.00
  • 4.15” capped
  • 4” uncapped
  • 5.25” Posted
  • 10.6 grams with ink cartridge

If you’re a colors collector you’ll want to add these two attractive additions.

Remember: Write something nice……

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